It's become impossible to keep up with all of the numerous singles coming out these days. Before I get too far behind again here's another sampling of some of what's filtered down to the Vinyl Cave in the past several months. Along with the latest discs by some past visitors to the turntable are quartets of recent releases by Dirtnap and Trouble in Mind, both prolific on the singles front in 2010.
Wheels on Fire: Cherry Bomb EP
As promised earlier in 2010, Bay Area/Wisconsin label Kind Turkey is off and spinning with its first vinyl release, from Wheels on Fire. Cherry Bomb offers some crisp-sounding basement recordings by the Athens, Ohio, garage popsters, including three new songs and a demo version of a track also on their second full-length release. It's yet another catchy-as-hell release from Wheels on Fire, and I'm looking forward to getting to hear the new album. It's currently only available from German label Alien Snatch. (Kind Turkey, 2010)
Nobunny: Brace Face EP
The man with the rabbit mask returned in September with both a new LP on Goner (First Blood and its amazingly creepy cover) and a single on Atlanta's Douchemaster label. His new recordings are dialing down the distortion a bit, and the B-side here is actually acoustic. His lyrics aren't getting similarly sanitized, and take on orals fixation on the two new songs on Brace Face. However, the seamiest moments are delivered by a cover of MOTO's classic "Tastes Just Like a Milkshake." Perhaps the only time I've ever seen a patron at the Crystal Corner completely lose it laughing was when he figured out what Mr. Caporino was singing about in that song, the last time MOTO played it there. Well chosen, Nobunny. According to the label, the first pressing of this 7-inch is already sold out. (Douchemaster Records, 2010)
The Prodigies: "I Want to Do It"/"What'd I Say"
Here are a couple of vintage excavations that just showed up in the mail. First up is an apparently extremely obscure 45 from Urbana, Ill., by The Prodigies. I took a flyer on this one without having any idea what it was beyond that it included a version of the Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer parent-baiter "I Want To Do It," originally recorded by Bobby Comstock but more famous in the Midwest via a cover by Madison's own Robin and the Three Hoods. The Prodigies record was apparently aimed somewhere between the frat rock and "party record" markets, as it's marked "NOT FOR BROADCAST" and includes some charmingly naughty takes on the two covers. Another Prodigies single called "Don't Look Back" is noted on Fine Recording Studios' G45 Central forum, but that's about all I can find online about the group. However, the singer on "What'd I Say" is listed as Roger Francisco, and that leads to a later '60s group called Spoils of War. Most of their surviving material has been reissued by the German Shadoks label. Digging through a few Google pages searching for the RoFran label uncovers bits of information in various places revealing that it was both a studio and label run by Francisco, active from the mid-'60s to at least the early '70s. (RoFran 1013, 1966?)
Chiquita: "Father In Law"/"Oh Happy Day"
This single was picked up on a whim, since it's on the always-interesting Cha Cha label from Chicago. With the title "Father In Law," I was expecting maybe a direct rewrite of Ernie K-Doe's "Mother-In-Law." Well, maybe in spirit, but not directly. It does tell the tale of a wayward father in-law, with backing anchored by some heavy drums, a chirpy organ and a chaotic guitarist who sounds like he or she doesn't totally know what is going on. The flip is a bit more sedate, with the singer aiming in a soul direction with a tale of missing her significant other in Vietnam. Both sides are credited to Prestella Young. Cha Cha was around for at least the entire decade of the 1960s and their records tend to be all over the map, from hard-edged garage to classic soul, teeners and even some incredibly twangy country. Somewhat strangely, this 45 is in stereo, which leads me to believe it must be from later in the '60s than the record number would perhaps imply. (Cha Cha 772, 1968?)
Dirtnap Records combo
Portland's mighty punk and power pop label has kept up a fairly busy slate of releases in 2010, including their 100th, the latest LP by The Goodnight Loving. Also out last spring was a quartet of singles, my favorite of which is a bit of lo-fi jangle pop by Young Governor, "Cindy's Gonna Save Me," with a bit of noisy, Soft Boys-esque fun on the flip. Young Governor is Ben Cook, who's released a ton of records under that alias and with the bands Fucked Up, Marvelous Darlings, The Bitters and others. Also excellent is the Mind Spiders EP, a warm and fuzzy power pop solo side project of the Marked Men's Mark Ryan; an LP is in the works for next year. Another Marked Men side project is The Potential Johns (a.k.a. Jeff Burke), a more lo-fi pop/punk platter. And the self-title EP by Night Birds, a split with Virginia label Grave Mistake, delivers some old-school punk aggressively/paranoiacally denouncing society's ills. It caught my ear as a bit out of the ordinary, due to the relatively clean production style and the novel injection of surf-ish guitar; there's even an instrumental closer channeling straight-up Dick Dale. All four 7-inches come with a digital download code. Since these came out back in the spring, Dirtnap has also issued a split single by Mean Jeans and White Wires. (Dirtnap, 2010)
Trouble in Mind combo
Chicago's Trouble in Mind keeps cranking out interesting 7-inches, generally by bands with a base in garage rock. They're easy to pick out in sellers' crates when new titles appear (usually in batches of four), thanks to a unified design scheme featuring a standardized sleeve and label design rather than a picture sleeve. This summer's releases are highlighted by a new single by Milwaukee's Sticks N Stones, showcasing two more tracks of their spiky, high energy boy-girl harmony pop. Here's hoping an LP isn't far behind for the group. Also getting plenty of time on the turntable is a four-track EP (at 33 rpm) by The Night Beats, a psych-tinged garage trio which sounds like an unholy alliance between the Thirteenth Floor Elevators and Spacemen 3. Though they're a Seattle group the heavy Elevators influence makes sense since two of the members originate from Texas. Also issued were singles by the power poppy Tropical Sleep and punky Hex Dispensers. All four come with a digital download code. The label's next batch of singles is due out this month, along with its first LP release. (Trouble in Mind, 2010)